Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Review: Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr (e-book)

Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr
February 2011
Format: e-book, 400 pages

First line: "I need to see you," Phillip said.

Synopsis from B&N: Rising sous-chef Kelly Matlock's sudden collapse at work is a wake-up call. Disillusioned and burned out, she's retreated to her sister Jillian's house in Virgin River to rest and reevaluate.

Puttering in Jill's garden and cooking with her heirloom vegetables is wonderful, but Virgin River is a far cry from San Francisco. Kelly's starting to feel a little too unmotivated…until she meets Lief Holbrook. The handsome widower looks more like a lumberjack than a sophisticated screenwriter—a combination Kelly finds irresistible. But less appealing is Lief's rebellious stepdaughter, Courtney. She's the reason they moved from L.A., but Courtney's finding plenty of trouble even in Virgin River.

Kelly's never fallen for a guy with such serious baggage, but some things are worth fighting for. Besides, a bratty teenager can't be any worse than a histrionic chef…right?

My thoughts: This is the 15th book in Robyn Carr's Virgin River series and I really am enjoying reading all these books. It seems as if with each subsequent book, I become more established in Virgin River myself.

Harvest Moon is Kelly and Lief's story. Kelly has turned up in Virgin River to recuperate after having a nervous breakdown at work. She needs a break from the hustle and bustle of restaurant life where she is a chef. Her sister Jill had moved up to Virgin River where she started an organic farm. While at Jill's, Kelly starts cooking, using the produce from Jill's garden to make delicious meals. Lief is also a recent transplant to Virgin River, moving their with his step-daughter Courtney, after Courtney's mother died. Courtney is having a difficult time finding herself and is an integral part of this story. Once they meet, Lief and Jill have a hard time staying away from each other, but Courtney does her best to make things difficult. She fears that one day Lief will reject her, like her own father did, and she also fears that if Lief falls in love with Kelly, he will stop loving and wanting Courtney. Lief and Kelly's story is not without it's ups and downs. But, as I think I've said before, it's not so much that they end up together as it is their journey to get there that I really enjoy.

We watch as Kelly, much like Jill did in Wild Man Creek, finds herself in Virgin River. Getting caught up in cooking with the produce from Jill's farm, she plays around with creating speciality items - soups, jellies, relishes, chutneys, etc. She realizes that she can do what she loves - cooking and baking - and not have to deal with the stress in a 5-star restaurant. While this is a fictional story, it does leave you with the sense that it really is possible to create a living out of what you enjoy doing if you're willing to put in the work.

Throughout the story, there are plenty of feel-good moments. My favorite is when Courtney shows her grandmother how to make the bread that Kelly made. Courtney did everything she could to dissuade Kelly from wanting to be around her, but that one action shows that she really does care. It was easy to dislike Courtney many times in this book, but just as easy to like her, too. Robyn Carr has a gift in making characters seem real. You really like the good guys and the bad guys, like Courtney's real dad, are written in such a way that they really do come off as horrible people.

One thing I did find different about this book from all the other Virgin River books is that there aren't whole chapters devoted to other characters we've met in the past. Sure, there are characters we've met in previous books that make appearances in this book, like Jack, Preacher, Walt and Muriel, but no one else has a story line going on. 

I loved this installment. I knew when we first me Jill and Kelly back in Promise Canyon that these ladies would hopefully have their own story and now they both have. And each one has been great. I hope that maybe one book in the future will be devoted to Courtney once she's a little older.

Do you have a minor character from a series that you wish was more developed or was given their own story?

(I purchased this e-book.)
Books in this series:
  1. Virgin River                                   11.1   Sheltering Hearts
  2. Shelter Mountain                         12.  Midnight Confessions
  3. Whispering Rock                          13.  Promise Canyon
  4. A Virgin River Christmas          14.  Wild Man Creek
  5. Second Chance Pass                    15.  Harvest Moon
  6. Temptation Ridge                        16.  Bring Me Home for Christmas
  7. Paradise Valley                             17.  Hidden Summit      
  8. Under the Christmas Tree        18.  Redwood Bend
  9. Forbidden Falls                            19.  Sunrise Point
  10. Angel's Peak                                   20.  My Kind of Christmas 
  11. Moonlight Road 

1 comment

  1. I'm glad there's a grandmother in it. Modern fiction so often leaves out (or stereotypes) people over 50.


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